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Water: The danger that comes from DAY ZERO!

Water: The danger that comes from DAY ZERO!


Day Zero is the countdown to when a city or country runs out of water.

The term was first coined in South Africa, in Cape Town, where there was a water crisis in 2018. The city, which had four million inhabitants, was at risk of running out of water - and this led to a series of campaigns and restrictions on water use . In January 2018, for example, Cape Town announced water restrictions of 87 liters (l) per person per day, and later reduced it to 50 liters per day. Day Zero was estimated to happen in April or May – there were complicated calculations about the exact date because the city depends on six dams for water.

But luckily it rained and Day Zero didn't happen. It is quite surprising that a city of four million people was left at the mercy of the rains.


Chennai, the sixth largest city in India, has between six and ten million inhabitants and reached Day Zero in 2019. As Day Zero approached, there were restrictions on water supplies at home, which meant that people had to to get buckets and stand in line ready to collect water. They had to buy water from private vendors at very high costs. Day Zero had a major impact on local businesses and hospitals. Once again, the city was spared the rain, but it was a very serious situation affecting the mental health and well-being, the economy of the city, but also the social fabric of Chennai.


As human beings, we have overexploited the environmental resources on our planet. In countries where we depend on groundwater, we keep pumping it in and out, and this happens over a period of several years. Chennai, for example, had about a thousand small lakes, wetlands and water bodies that provided water, but in the last 30 years or so, with urbanization, this number has dwindled to 200. This is a process that has taken several decades to develop. , but we're seeing an increase due to climate change as we have drier summers – and that's not helping us build water reserves.

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